A Q&A with the CEO of Belle: One of Nashville’s Hottest Startups

Armand-Lauzon

Armand Lauzon is the founder & CEO of Belle, a Nashville-based tech startup that provides on-demand beauty and health services including massages, manicures, makeup, hairstyling, haircuts, skincare, fitness and more. The company began in both Boston and Nashville, and after seeing how the business was accelerating in Music City, Armand left Boston and became an official Nashville resident earlier this year. We sat down with him to understand why Belle, why Nashville and what other entrepreneurs can learn from his experience.

What led you to start Belle, and what made you believe there was an opportunity in the beauty and health industries?

When my cousin (a manicurist) became a mother a few years ago, she still wanted to earn extra cash for her family. However, the traditional, rigid structure of a salon made that difficult for her. I learned from her that, on average, manicurists forfeit 50% or more of the revenue they generate to the salon. I soon realized that many professionals in the beauty and health industries have similar problems. To help her and others, I envisioned building a virtual salon and spa (Belle) where qualified professionals could have increasingly flexible and profitable careers.

How does the service work, and what should first time clients know?

Visit ProjectBelle.com, pick a professional, choose a service, specify the location you’d like the service (home, office, hotel, etc) and head to checkout. The professional will accept the appointment and come to you at your appointment time. Tip is built into the service price and no cash is exchanged. Clients should know all professionals are properly licensed, certified and tested. We take quality and trust very seriously.

We know you’re a recent Nashville transplant by way of Boston. Tell us why you chose to grow Belle here and what your experience has been as a new Nashvillian thus far.

Belle started in Boston, my hometown, and Nashville, but I ultimately knew we had to be in one city in our early stage to keep our resources focused, and Nashville made the most sense. I have grown incredibly fond of this city, and in particular, its people.

What are Belle’s goals for growth in Nashville and your plans for the company’s future?

We want to deepen our presence here in a meaningful way. I want to work with 200 professionals by early 2017. In about a year, I want our Nashville operations to be mature enough to justify expansion into other cities.

Is there a story that stands out in your mind, whether from a Belle client or professional that makes you particularly proud of the services Belle is providing?

Recently, one Belle professional told me she had the best week of her career because of Belle. She said she was grateful to us for believing in and supporting her. Knowing that what we are doing is having such positive impacts is emotional and touching. It’s why I started the company. It’s everything.

What piece of advice would you offer other entrepreneurs in Nashville?

First, if you are thinking about it, do it. I’m a first-time entrepreneur and it’s such a profound and meaningful experience. You’ll learn more about yourself and the world than you could in any other way.

Second, always say yes. Meet and network with as many people as possible. Help others when you can. You never know who can be a key puzzle piece to what you’re creating. One person cannot build a business alone. You rely on a team and it’s up to you to bring the right people together.

Photo courtesy of Armand Lauzon.